WOWi’s Team From America Begins Arriving In Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Buddhist monks getting a ride in a tuk tuk on the streets of Phnom Penh

After four flights spanning over 29 hours I arrived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia this morning. But it’s on the other side of the world from and 13 hours ahead of Austin here, so my head and body are going through the normal jetlag routine.  But even though I am a bit weary from my travels I am extremely glad to be here. I always love coming back to Cambodia, and this time I am even more excited than I normally am because of the big cultural exchange project we have going on with WOWi. When I had conversations with people on my flights about what I will be doing on my trip every single person I spoke to also thinks this is a wonderful project that will do great things for both the kids here in Cambodia as well as the kids and the elderly group in Austin. We are going to be doing something that has never been done before, and the potential for positive change is tremendous. How could anyone NOT be excited about that?

Independence Monument in Phnom Penh - notice the nice, new white building on the left side

Speaking of change, I did go for a long stroll today to get reacquainted with Phnom Pehn, and it has definitely changed quite a bit since I was last here. A lot of construction of buildings, large and small, has taken place and is still going on. Some of the cars here are much more expensive than what I remember ever seeing. The roads are much improved. The park grounds are better maintained. Etc., etc. So much like what has taken place in Siem Reap over the last several years, things are definitely moving in the right direction as far as economic opportunity.

Street vendor food in Phnom Penh

Well, at least they are improving for those who have access to sufficient education. You still see people in the streets whom you can just tell have not been able to fully partake in Cambodia’s newly found economic growth. And you still see kids wandering about that obviously should be in school if at all possible. So I think WOWi’s timing for starting this project is very timely. Given that real opportunities are being created here for people to improve their lives, our helping the Ponheary Ly Foundation give these kids even better jobs skills through technical and artistic training will absolutely have positive, long-term impacts on the lives of many people. I feel so incredibly lucky to get to be a part of this, and I very much look forward to working with all of you who are also participating in any way at all.

Let’s get this thing started!

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